Based on the remaining NFL schedule and my thoughts on the teams in the playoff hunt, here's what I predict we'll be seeing come playoff time.
Bold denotes division winners
The Titans are an easy pick here. I think the Jets will coast to the division title because of a weak schedule and capture the first round bye. The Pats just seem too good to not make the playoffs so they'll have a road wild card game. The Colts are in great shape in the AFC to finish strong. A 4-2 finish will get them at 10-6 and in the playoffs by one game over the Steelers who they'd have the tie-breaker over for beating them. The Ravens will win the North because of their schedule. The Steelers are banged up and their schedule down the stretch is brutal. The Broncos win the West by default and somehow get a home playoff game.
So, the bracket would most likely look like this:
New England @ Denver
Indianapolis @ Baltimore
I would predict the road teams to come out on top of these matchups, setting up:
New England @ Tennessee
Indy @ New York
The AFC Championship would be in Nashville:
New York @ Tennessee
The Giants will roll into the playoffs, maybe even at 14-2. The Bucs will win the division via a tiebreaker over the Panthers. This could go either way but the Bucs killed Carolina earlier this year so based on that I'll give the nod to the Bucs. The Panthers are too good at home to fall out of the playoff picture but they do need to figure out what's going on with that pass offense. The Cardinals win the West by default, that seems like a common theme this year. The Cowboys win the wild card becasue the Redskins don't have enough fire power and the Eagles can't beat the Bengals. The North will only get one team, and that will be Green Bay by a game over the Bears and Vikings. Atlanta misses out by a game to Dallas but don't be surprised if that's the other way around.
So, the bracket would look like this:
Dallas @ Green Bay
Carolina @ Arizona
The Pack get the Cowboys the second time around and Carolina proves that Arizona just isn't that good.
Green Bay @ New York
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
The Giants are just too good and they'll send the Packers home again. Carolina and Tampa Bay could be a classic.
Tampa Bay @ New York
So, we'll see how wrong I end up.